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Chevrolet Cavalier



  • tffkaptffkap Posts: 11
    Also, speaking poorly of domestic cars doesn't work when talking about the Corolla. Remember, this car is really just a rebadged Chevrolet Prizm. With a few changes. Neither of which is all that great a car if you ask me, but that is just my opinion.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    The Prizm is a rebadged Corolla.
  • mitsukimitsuki Posts: 2
    rdeschene. I still won't consider one.
    The quality doesn't shine in this area. I also been in the higher end of this car.. I have to admit the power is good but the engine sound still quite loud.. The smaller domestic cars seem to lack the quality of their japanese competitor don' you think?
  • tffkaptffkap Posts: 11
    Either way... :)
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 331
    mitsuki. I definitely agree that one is more likely to experience rattles, or engine noise, or loose trim with a Cavalier/Sunfire than a Civic or Corolla. At new prices, I don't think the Cavalier offers a competitive advantage.

    Comparing well-maintained, two year old cars, with the same features (ABS,higher HP engine, 4spd auto, traction control) however, is a different matter in Canada at least. The price difference can be $4000. I can pay somebody else to put a rebuilt engine in for that amount of money! And if that was LITERALLY necessary for EVERY 2yr old Cavalier, but not for ANY 2yr old Civic/Corolla it would still be a financial break-even.

    It's a huge price difference, resulting from the perception I see throughout this forum and elsewhere. Which is fine by me, because it allows me to get decent cars at very competitive prices.
  • tffkaptffkap Posts: 11
    Boy, I will have to admit that not having a "low end" model car for Honda has really been an advantage for them. By not making many different cars, they can focus on quality for all of the models and not worry about the higher price.
  • mkbrockmkbrock Posts: 1
    I am going this afternoon to look to buy a new 2000 rs cavalier. It is fully loaded with the power package and after reading these responses will have a 2.4 engine!! I now have a 98 GMC 5.7 v-8 that will not hold enought passengers. I have some negative money on this truck and the cavalier is the only car that will allow me out without a substantial monthly increase.

    I would like to know from a commute standpoint if anyone has a comment on this car for it will be with me for a while with miles racking up quickly.

  • I own a 1996 cavalier sedan with 71,000 miles on it. I had a oil leak at 34,000 miles,it was the valve cover gasket. Cheap fix but still under warranty anyways. Ive had no other mech failures
    Yes the dash rattles
    And yes the engine is loud
    I change my oil every 3,000 and also use prolong engine treatment at every oil change.
  • The one thing I notice about my '99 Cavalier is that the brakes makes noises and Chevy tells me it some environmental research. They say that it is because the brakes have more metallic and I don't like it!
  • My daughter has a 97 Cavalier that we call the "Deer Magnet" since she has hit 2 deer in 2 years. She also hit a snow dift and it flipped the car around, went through a drainage ditch and barbwire fence backwards. This is one of the safest and best built small cars we have ever owned. The Cavy held up great through all 3 wrecks.

    We also own a 97 Chevy Venture. Both vehicles have noisy brakes. It ain't the pads folks. GM built themselves a braking system that collects dirt and stores it. I found that if I take the vehicles down to the spray foam and hit the back side of the brakes real good with the high pressure spray when they start making noise that it will stop the noise until they accumalate more dirt.

    If you think it is the metallic pads, which was the case on my Corvette, you can buy small plastic spacers at most parts stores to put on the pads to stop the noise.
  • i have a 97 cav 4 dr sedan and the timeing chain and tensioner are going out should this happened to a 97??? how do i fix it without paying 1k???
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    If you have a 97 Cavalier and the timing chain is gone, then the car is definitely in trouble! Did you take proper care of it? Is the car still under warranty? You make want to call Chevrolet customer service and tell them you story. But try to sound mad and upset because this usually yields the best results! Let me know how it turns out.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I bought a 1996 Cavalier in July with 31K on it. I have put almost 9000 miles on it so far (70 miles a day for work). Anyway, I enjoy a consistent 26 mpg with auto. and this is one of the few cars of this size that I feel safe in. I was in a car accident in December with my first car (totalled), so safety is a big issue to me. I also like the standard ABS, the long distances between maintenance stops, and the styling (pretty sporty for the $8000 I paid for it (its a base coupe). Now for the bad: I have a stalling problem that the dealer cannot find to save his stupid life. When i stop, the car will just cut off, like its missing or something. The dealers (yes, 2) said that is has to do it for them in order to be fixed. I also have had to have the right front strut replaced, as well as the muffler. The dash rattles up at the top where the instrument panel and dashboard meet (just under the windshield), but overall, it is a pretty good car. Love the heat and AC system, the most powerful I ever experienced. I plan to keep it until it dies, so I hope that is a good long time.

    Also, if anyone else has the stalling problem with their Cavalier (it is a 2.2 engine w/3 spd. auto) let me know. I tried fuel injector cleaner, but that didn't work either.

    Finally, I would gladly purchase another Cavalier. For the price, you get a lot of safety, room, comfort, and cheap maintenance costs. Great for a young person like me. I just hate seeing someone else with the same car everytime I turn around. But I guess that is a good thing, eh?
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    Have them check out the EGR valve. A sticking EGR valve will cause your problem.
  • i take really good care of it.when i took it in for a check up at a honda dealer where i bought it they said that a lot of cavs have the same problem but there is no recall on it go figure.i'm still in the process of getting in hold of them they better fix or get ready for a pissed person!What i don't understand is it should n't have those problems.........
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    For more information on recalls and things, check NHTSA's website ( It's pretty easy to navigate. The timing chain is about a $500 or more job (so be ready for the shock). If the car is still under warranty or something, you could be in luck. If not, then try complaining to the dealer. Sometimes that works (it got me a new front strut for nothing when the car was out of warranty and a new set of brakes on a car before this one). Be persistent though. For more tips, also see,
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I HAD a 1996 Cavalier, but I traded it for a 1999 Protege DX this past weekend. I love the car! I literally had to stuff a piece of folded paper into the dash of the Cav to stop rattles. The Protege is as solid as a tank, gets better mileage, and looks more expensive than it is. Granted, the Protege is new and the Cavalier had 40K on the odo, I think if you start out with a better built product, it will last longer. The surprise is that it cost me about the same as a new Cavalier would have (but no ABS, which I miss).
  • A couple weeks ago, I rented a 2 door 99 Cavalier from Avis here in Portland. Nice interior, with the gray stuff and the dash was decent. The rubber molding around the door kept falling off. I noticed some funky weld points at the bottom of the door entry, where I've never seen one before. I try to keep an open mind, but I don't think the Cavalier has improved much. I was in the market for a new sedan the past few months, and the Protege was right up there. I finally bought a Ford Contour LX for 10,777 with A/C and extras. Maybe the Mazda is more solid, but I think I got a sharp car with more extras for my money.... plus Ford's rebate made it so credit challenged me didn't have to put a cent down.
  • This is my honest experience with the GM J-car (Sunfire/Cavalier).

    I factory ordered a '97 Pontiac Sunfire and the following work was done while under warranty:

    Towed back to the dealer 5 times
    New oil pump
    New Catalytic Converter
    New water pump
    New stereo
    New rack and pinion steering gear box
    New front brake discs (three times)
    New ignition coil
    Recall for air bags
    Recall for rear suspension

    Most of these repairs required 2 or more attempts by Mr. Goodwrench to fix. Not to mention the countless trips that I was turned away because they where too busy to work on it. So my social life seemed to depend upon my ability to schedule everything around the dealer visits.

    When my car was towed back to the Pontiac dealer one Monday morning I was told by the Pontiac service writer that Mondays are a very bad day for a break down because their service department is back logged with all of the Pontiacs that where towed in during the weekend.

    I do not even take it back to the dealer for wheel spin balancing; they can not do that simple thing right and I have found an independent shop in town that can spin balance both correctly and 33% cheaper.

    Two of the Pontiac salesmen eventually went to the Nissan "side" of the same Dealer and they both said that they where very, very happy not to sell any more Pontiacs.

    On the positive side, the Dealer always tried to give me a loaner (not always possible - I was riding my bicycle at times). Also, I bought it because the insurance is real cheap and the financing was 3.9% and the deal was $170 over invoice.

    Next time I will pay a premium on the price and insurance for either a Mazda or Toyota or Honda but I will get a better bargain that way.

    Some people have purchased the GM J-car and it has been a very good car for them. Use your own judgement - its your own or your parents or your spouse's or your grandparents money. In my case, it was my own money so it really hurts.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Have a '97 LS 4 door with 40K+. When I purchased I noticed a big improvement over base care which was twitchy and ill-handling.

    So far no major problems. Locked up the ignition module by hanging too many keys on it. Went through a battery (under warranty).

    This is my first automatic, 4 speed is much better than 3 speed, but I miss snicking the gears. Wish a manual was available for the LS.

    Like many others, I wish I'd paid the extra bucks for the 2.4 engine. Reving the 2.2 is not a pleasant experience.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I've had my 99 Cavalier now for 11 months. It's the 2.2 liter 4 speed automatic. So far, no problems whatsoever. I've done nearly 12000 miles. No oil leaks. Just one point that I would like to warn people about. Check your wheel lug nuts. Buy yourself a cheap deflection beam torque wrench and the right size socket. It may not be too accurate but at least you will get the lugs all torqued the same. I checked my lugs after I took delivery and found that instead of being 100 ft.lbs. they were all over the place with the average being about 60 ft.lbs. Some were as low as 50 ft.lbs. Clearly, this could lead to rotor distortion. Always carry the torque wrench in your cars trunk and use it.
  • I am currently driving a '98 LS 4 door with 28K. (2.2L) This is my 2nd Cav.with the first being a mid 80's true econo-box commute special.(4 speed,no frills)

    Two key things which bug me about the '98.

    1) Rattle in dash above instrument cluster which only seems to go away after running heat.

    2)Occasional rattling of door windows.

    Interesting that an occasional "rap" on the dash seems to help stop the mysterious rattle. I believe the rattle is caused by the plastic vent baffles either not fitting correctly or expanding/contracting based on climate. (hot/cold)

    Ultimate fix, crank up the radio.

    Other than that, the car has run well and provides good basic commute transportation. The ABS and traction control are nice safety features. I would recommend this car for someone who wants a dependable, economy car with low maintenance costs. The rattles are at times annoying, I have brought the car back in once to the dealer under warranty, and will do so again to try and have them insulate the dash.
  • I have owned 4 Cavaliers previously (83, 87, 89, 92). The 92 was the best one I owned for comfort and lasting appearance. The 87 was the best one I owned mechanically. I just bought a 2000 LS in September and now have around 2500 miles on it.

    After I first got it, I was disappointed with the fit and finish of the assembly. The back seat was mounted crooked, none of the doors closed properly and needed adjusted. The door seals don't fit properly. The chip-guard in the fender wells looked like it was applied by a drunk. The dash board is crooked. Now, after 2500 miles, the paint is pealing off the front bumper, the dash makes a whole bunch of different noises when the car is cold and my front wheels screech continuously. Maybe all these things can be corrected by the dealer but it makes me wonder about the engine and drive-train assembly and how many things will break after the 3/36 warranty. I don't care about the little things but what about the trans-axle and engine?

    Above all these things, that I may forget about after a year or so, the one thing that I really hate about this 2000 Cavalier is the road noise. When you get rolling up around 65 MPH, it resonates inside the car. On a noisy road surface, you may as well turn the radio off.

    I will most likely trade this car in before too long. I was content with the last 4 Cavaliers I had and figured it was a no-brainer buying another, but this newer body stile has disappointed me.
  • srzsrz Posts: 4
    I have a 97 Z-24 automatic. I have never been able to figure out how the traction control works. On wet slippery pavement, if I accelerate hard the front wheels spin and a light on the dash comes on that says "Lo Trac". Gee, I knew that!!! If I then put the car in third to shut off the traction control and do the same thing I get the same results. Is the traction control just an idiot light? I've experienced traction control in a Cadillac Seville, which I'm sure is a more sophisticated system, but hey.....whats the deal?
  • srzsrz Posts: 4
    I've had my 97 Z-24 for almost 3 years {36 and the only problems in 31000 miles that required a return to the dealer was an airbag recall fixed while I waited and a bad power window motor replacement. Other that that the car has been totally reliable. The engine is fantastic. It is smooth and powerful. I would think it was a V6. Highly underated motor. The car has developed quite a few annoying rattles and squeaks in the dashboard and door panels. I spray silicone all over the place and sometimes hit the right spot. It's unfortunate because it makes a really good car with a very rigid structure feel cheap.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    srz, what prevoius cars have u driven? Out of curiosity.
  • For those that say the engine loud - have you alread discounted the exhaust system as contributing to the noise?
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    You guys don't know what bad motorcars are. I come from a country where at one time British cars were the dominant cars. I could fill pages just telling you about my problems with Austin, Morris, Triumph etc. etc. Throw in a couple of rust bucket French Renaults and Italian Fiats as well. And, don't talk about Alpha. My 1984 Toyota Corolla was no wondercar either. My sons 1994 Nissan Sentra is a pain in the butt. Compared to those, my 1999 Cavalier is the best car. I also wonder what people mean when they say the 2.2 liter Cavalier engine is loud. Is that mechanical noise or exhaust noise? Neither is a problem with my car.
  • boston14boston14 Posts: 111
    Its seem cavalier owners come across dash rattles a lot and let me tell its not only chevy. I have had two New Mitsubishi, my latest a 2000 Galant that has a plastic popping sounds. My first Mitsubishi has rattles in the glove box and dash. However Mitsubishi's have really good engine and drivetrain performance.
  • srzsrz Posts: 4
    My other car is a 99.5 Infiniti QX-4. Going backwards: 96 Pathfinder, 94 Galant, 92 Acura Vigor, 90 Mustang GT convertible. As you can see I had sworn off American cars but when the lease was up on the Galant my wife wanted something sportier. The Z-24 was fully loaded including factory moonroof at a great lease price. I was a little apprehensive about going American again but have been pleasantly suprised. Obviously you don't agree. What sort of problems have you encountered?
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    Hmm.... Reason I ask u this is to make sure that I don't want to step on someone else's toes. I too like many others find the I4 in the Cavalier to make alot of noise. It's like it's having some sort of asthma attack. Have you redline it? That's all I have to say. No it's not the exhaust. Cars these days are made to have quiet sound emission. So I'm pretty sure it's that Inline 4 heaving away. Other than that it's a great car and perhaps the best among the J cars.
  • andy61andy61 Posts: 4
    I love my 98 chevy 2.2 engine with 4 spd automatic for many reasons as well I had quite a few problems considering it is only 20 mo old with only 25K. Not to waste time speaking again about rattles in dashboard and other common problems to Cavalier I need help on problems briefly touched in postings #26 & #50. Yes, I admit, Cavalier is rough on low gears specially first 5-10K shifting from the 1st to 2nd gear or running at about 30-50 km/hr. The only solution I found is higher octane gas - use 92 octane only in the city or 94 on the long highway trips. But next problem, seems kind of an extension to the first one, is a very stiff gas pedal I have noticed after about 10K, car may even refuse to accelerate sometimes. What is funny, this problem is coming & going hourly or daily with no really any pattern. When pedal is nice & smooth I feel like I am in the plane, it's just a fly not a ride & engine is very responsive. Dealer does not want to admit the problem on his test drive, however tried to fix it twice: lubricating accel cable first & replacing it a few month later but it was no help. As time goes by the pedal is more often stiff then not. Does anyone has the same problem or knows the solution? To me it feels like there is problem with the way gas flows from the tank to the engine, it feels like engine does not want to accept gas & I feel great resistance of a squeezed air or liquid. For those who question whether to buy a Cavalier: I am leasing my car with a 3 year lease & I am happy to know that above problems will end with the lease.
  • srzsrz Posts: 4
    Ramon, are we talking about the same engine? The only problem I have with the 150 HP motor is that it seems to be a little octane sensitive during the summer months.
  • js22js22 Posts: 1
  • trayctrayc Posts: 2
    I'm getting ready to buy a new car
    and I would like to find another one
    as inexpensive and dependable as my
    1990 Chevy Cavalier has been.
    I bought it new and hate to part with it,
    but it's getting up there (it has 229,124 or so
    miles on it right now) and I know it won't last forever.
    Any recommendations?
  • I had an 83, 87, 89, and 92 Cavalier and now I have a 2000. I really liked the 92 and hated to give it up. I thought buying the 2000 was a no-brainer but I'm not happy with it. If I had it to do over, I would buy a Malibu. Since I didn't buy the Malibu, I don't really know how that would have worked out, but my test drives and rentals prove it to be in a class with the larger, quieter, better handling cars like my other car--a 97 Lumina. There are some complaints about the early version of the Malibu like tire and brake problems, but it looks like they may have those worked out.
  • trayctrayc Posts: 2
    What is it that you don't like about the
    2000 Cavalier?
  • I jsut purchased a 200 Cav LS - with some options - most important I upgraded to the 2.4L engine.

    I am very happy with it. Through all my own test driving - it is alot more comfortable that other cars to sit in. I am 6'1 say a 51 chest - and I sit in it fine - unlike Saturns. The trunk space is no bigger or smaller than other similarly classed cars. The only thing I wish was changed - was the front dash - instead of making it sloping, they could have maybe put a recess in it for soem papers or what not, and I only noticed that after I already bought it - so the other classed cars could be just the same way - when I test drove - I didn't pay attention to dash board shapes.
  • Someone I work with has a 92-94 Cavalier - and he is hitting 180,000 miles on it.
  • If you get a 2000 Cavalier - upgrade to the 2.4L engine - you get a bigger engine with more power, and get a dual overhead cam for the engine instead of a single. It is the same engine in the sport/convertible versions as standard. The engine in the past supposedly had problems - but I have talked to numerous owners of Cavaliers from 94 up to 99 who have the 2.4L engine - or thought they had the 2.4L engine and they haven;t had any problems. Most of the reviews I have read - if the reviewer was half intelligent and did talk about the engine, will recommend the 2.4L.
  • Email me at [email protected] if you want to talk avbout the cavalier I just bought.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    My girlfriend wants to buy a new Cavalier. What is a reasonable price to pay for a 99 or 2000 base with auto tranny?
  • These numbers are from memory - I was lookigna t a LS which I think was 13,800, the LS is an extra 1400, - and I think that leaves you with a manual 2.2L engine. Auto is an extra $300 about. That was with th a 1500 rebate. Very rough figures. I ended up with a LS with an upgraded engine for only 405 and the sound system for 230. (I took the LS for the tilt and cruise, so I was not looking at base models)
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    Thank you for the info. I'm helping 2 people car shop, girlfriend and roommate. going nuts here.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    I love helping someone car shop! Helped my ex gilfriend car shop not too long ago too. But her dad went out and bought her a Corolla without her approval. I was quite pissed as he paid alot for an econobox! With all the options it crept right to a Base Camry price!
  • cavokcavok Posts: 1
    Just a little feedback on the the new Y2K Cavalier. I have read many pros and cons, and would like to give my 2 cents worth. I purchased mine preyear late November, and can't be happier. I own the LS Sedan, and for the extras received along with a reasonable price you can't beat it. 4W antilock brakes, electronic tracking control, anti theft system, a/c, etc, the standard options in the car's competition class would put their price well above chevy's pricing. I have already put 5000 miles on the car without problem one. Engine noise did not seem bad for the size of the car, during quick acceleration it is noticable, but quiets down at cruising speed. I have not noticed any dash noise (still pretty new though) and wind noise is about the same as you would find in the Focus, Corrola, etc. Smoothness of the ride has improved with this model, and quick turns are not like riding a rail, but adequate responsivness. I am in Maine, and experiencing sub 0 temps these days (brrrrrr) and lots of snow driving, and the little car has not missed a beat. The new computer controlled traction control is great in the snow, adjusting the spin of the tires relative to the road conditions. Dash is layed out ok, except if you have a cup in the front holders, access to the heater controls is a bit of a pain withour removing the cup. Still that is a minor irritant overall. I am 6 ft tall, and have plenty of head room.

    Too many people are gaging the car against the old one which did have it's downfalls. Maybe I am the lucky one, but so far so good. For the extras you get in the LS model compared with the prices of others in it's class, its not a bad little car!! BTW, I am getting 32 road, and 25 mpg city on a consistant basis, matching what is boasted on the sticker.

    Happy Shopping!! :)
  • I love my husky Cavalier in city driving. It takes the bumps really well and feels solid. The 2.4L with automatic is a screamer -- incredible torque, very responsive. The interior materials LS are just fine. Can't beat it for the money.
  • 216591216591 Posts: 5
    I recently sold my '95 cavalier to a friend. The car is in the shop having the engine taken apart upon suspicion of a defective head gasket. We had this replaced once at about 20K. I recall receiving a letter before I sold it (6 months ago) stating the head gasket would have an extended warranty on it - not a recall- because of so many defectives. I am not sure where the letter is. The dealer is acting like he never heard of it. Anyone remember the letter or know where I could find such info? She tried calling GM customer service and they were no help.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I saw information about extended warranties in an issue of Consumer Reports Magazine. I cannot remember what issue it was in (has the words "Luxury For Less" in yellow on the front page along with a silver car). Try to get a copy of it Also, tell the dealer to check the Service Bulletins on the Cavalier for you. I think it would serve you better to go to another dealer because the present one sounds like a real piece of work (or something!). Good luck.
  • 216591216591 Posts: 5
    Thanks for the help. I did find the service bulletin on the web for the defective head gasket. The dealer still said they didn't have it. When she mentioned talking to GM about it they 'found' it and did the work free of charge. They were trying to charge her $1400. The dealer said they were going to have to do alot of paperwork to get reimbursed from gm. Do you think they would not inform someone of the Service Bulletin to avoid paperwork?
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